Sunday, July 7, 2013

Keep annuals and perennials blooming thoughout the summer

Simple gardening practices recommended by Michigan State University Extension can be done with annuals and perennials to prevent them from become top-heavy or leggy and allowing them to flower for a longer period.
* Pruning back top-heavy perennials will encourage branching, will delay blooming and will allow new side shoots to emerge.
* Pinching the stem tips of leggy annuals like begonia, celosia and coleus enables dormant buds along  stems to open and makes the plant look full and robust. A hard pruning of annuals like petunias causes plants to branch out with improved flowering.
* Removal of dead flowers from plants improves their appearance and prevents the plants from wasting valuable energy resources producing seed.
* Over-fertilization and over-watering may cause some plants to become leggy and topple over with heavy flowers. Individual stems can be supported with commercial wire stakes and a soft string tie.
To prevent annuals like the petunia from becoming too "leggy,"
pinch the stem tips so that side shoots and flowers develop.
 Photo credit: Rebecca Finneran, MSU Extension

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